HIST 1083 Lecture 19: The French Revolution: The Road from Reform to Revolution

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5 Dec 2016
The French Revolution: The Road from Reform to Revolution
How did reform turn to Revolution?
Enlightenment thinkers were not Revolutionaries
Liberal Enlightenment ideals transformed into Revolutionary, Radicalism
Tabula Rasa (Blank Slate)
“General Will” and “Spirit of the Revolution”
Three Estates
1st Estate: Clergy - 2nd Estate: Nobility - 3rd Estate Commoners
Not a class based system
Many poor nobles in the 2nd Estate
many rich bourgeoisie in the 3rd Estate
Economic growth of New Middle Class(3rd Estate) did not match their
weak political position
Trans-Estate Alliance
Lower clergy and nobles joined with the 3rd Estate (not peasants but Lawyers
and merchants) to form a formidable political force
What France Was..
The old regime
What France Would Become…(for a time)
Constitutional monarchy
National assembly
Not all that glitters is gold…
The long reigns of absolutist kings contrasted the rising tide of Enlightenment thought.
These monarchs left unbalanced budgets from wars and vast building projects
Louis XIV: numerous wars and the Palace of Versailles
Louis XV: Seven years War and loss of international colonies and prestige
Louis XVI: The American Revolution and subsequent debt crisis; the wars and expenses
resulted in the loss of international prestige and economic stability
Louis XVI
Grandson of Louis XV and Great, Great, Great Grandson of Louis XIV
Caught between Absolutist and Enlightenment ideals
Wished to be an “Enlightened” King
Actively supported the Americans in their WAr of Independence
Called for a convocation of Estates General in 1789, the first time the three Estates had
assembled since 1614
Marie Antoinette
Wife of King Louis XVI, originally from the Austrian Royal Family
Austria, despite prior intermarraige and alliances, was viewed largely as a rival and
potential threat to France
An easy and frequent target of scandelous and salacious rumors and gossip that turned
popular opinion against her
“Let them eat cake”
Marquis de Lafayette
Commander in the American Revolution
A member of the Convocation of the Estates-General in 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the influence of Thomas Jefferson
Became commander in chief of the National Guard
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